Category Archives: Other Comics

Stalled With One Issue Left

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that a lot of the indie comics I read don’t have fixed schedules. In a few cases, it goes beyond that, and the comics are, as near as I can tell, totally stalled — in some cases for years. Maddeningly, there are a few that are stalled just one issue from the conclusion!

Planetary #27 was one of these, but the epilogue issue finally came out last month. I was beginning to wonder whether Ignition City #5 was headed the same way, once it got to three months after the fourth issue, but the last issue finally came out in October.

Currently, I’m waiting for…

Gemini #5

Gemini #4(Image) This five-issue miniseries from Jay Faerber and Jon Sommariva about a super-hero whose secret identity doesn’t know he’s a super-hero (sort of like that TV show with Christian Slater last year) started off solidly, then quickly went off the rails scheduling-wise. I didn’t even realize how late it had gotten until I looked for it a few days ago and found a reference to the original solicitation: It was supposed to wrap in September 2008! The longest gap was between #3 and #4 (which came out this past July).

Status: The artist is currently working on the issue…along with a bunch of other projects.

Update (March 2011) Still not finished. According to Jay Faerber, “Jon Sommariva has the script, so it’s in his hands now.

Robert Jordan’s New Spring #8 – COMPLETED! (May 2010)

Robert Jordan's New Spring #1(Dabel Bros.) This 8-issue miniseries adapting the Wheel of Time prequel launched in August 2005, produced by Dabel Bros. and published by Red Eagle Entertainment. After a couple of issues it got to be very sporadic as the studio and publisher started to feud, and it ceased publication entirely after #5 came out in early 2006.

Two years later (summer 2008), Dabel Bros. announced that they would start adapting the main Wheel of Time series, but at the time had no plans to complete New Spring. Finally, in April 2009, they announced that they’d be finishing the miniseries. #6 came out in May, along with a prologue to the new series, then I waited…#7 came out in August… Now there’s just one issue left, but there’s been no sign of New Spring #8 anywhere. For that matter, Eye of the World seems to have stalled after just one issue. Meanwhile, Bleeding Cool has been reporting financial problems — like not paying artists — and Dabel Bros. website has gone offline.

Status: It doesn’t look promising, but then the series has already come back from the dead once. I believe Tor (Robert Jordan’s publisher) has the rights to publish the collected edition. Maybe if Dabel Bros. can’t finish it in miniseries form, Tor can step in, finance the last chapter, and just sell it as a hardcover? I’d certainly buy it.

Update (April 2010): I may be able to cross this one off the list soon. Dynamite (who has taken over Dabel Brothers’ catalog) has scheduled the last issue for June!

Update (May 2010): The final issue of New Spring arrived on May 12, 2010! Dynamite has also relaunched the Eye of the World adaptation.

The Oz/Wonderland Chronicles #4 – COMPLETED! (April 2011)

Oz/Wonderland Chronicles #4 (Preview)(BuyMeToys.com) Simple premise: Alice from Alice in Wonderland and Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz have grown up and left behind the worlds they think were simply childhood fantasies, and are now roommates in (IIRC) Chicago (Their other roommates include Wendy from Peter Pan and an obvious analog of Susan from the Narnia books). Of course, their pasts were real, and now they’re being called upon to return to those worlds and help them. The four-issue miniseries was coming out about once a year starting in 2005, but it’s been at least two years since issue #3.

Status: They released a preview of #4 at Chicago Comic-Con this year, and the website says it’ll be out “early 2010.”

Update (June 2010): I’ve found several stores listing an August 25, 2010 release date, but the official website doesn’t say anything. We’ll see.

Update (April 2011): The fourth issue finally came out on April 13, 2011 — three years after the previous issue and six since the first. Meanwhile, they launched a sequel, “Jack and Cat Tales,” before they actually finished the first series.

Deadly Nightshade After Closing Time

Comic Cavalcade was an anthology series that ran from 1942 until 1954, publishing super-heroes and other adventures for the first six years. Wonder Woman, the Flash, and Green Lantern were the headliners. DC has reprinted the first three issues as The Comic Cavalcade Archives, Vol. 1. (At 100 pages per issue, it’s still a pretty big collection!) I bought a copy, mainly for the Flash stories, and it finally arrived yesterday.

I read a few of the stories this afternoon, and these panels from the Green Lantern story in issue 1, “The Adventures of Luckless Lenore,” made me laugh out loud.

Two panels from Comic Cavalcade #1

Green Lantern’s sidekick, Doiby, has been trying to romance Lenore, whose “bad luck” seems to be engineered. At this point he’s been captured. I didn’t even notice the name of the bar the first time through, it was the menu that caught me off-guard. Continue reading

Speed Reading: Misney, Sergio, Lex & Planetary

And some non-Flash linkblogging to round out the week!

There’s a million pieces of Marvel/Disney fan art by now, but these posts collect some good ones:

This next one is Flash-related, but seems to fit well with the Disney mash-ups: it’s a sketch Livesay shared of Donald Duck and the Flash, by Don Rosa.

Die Kal-El Die! chronicles building Lex Luthor’s power suit for this year’s Comic-Con International.

The Ventura County Star profiles artist Sergio Aragon├ęs (Mad Magazine, Groo the Wanderer, etc.) (via Robot6).

WildStorm has posted a preview of Planetary #27, the long-awaited epilogue to the Warren Ellis/John Cassaday series that will finally arrive next month! The Hallelujah Chorus ran through my head when I saw this. And it gets better: They’ve got wallpaper and icons.

The Weekly Crisis recommends comics to read after Fables and Y: The Last Man.

LOL_SpamFinally, I’ve got another project called LOL_Spam. In a nutshell: a couple of times a day I post a funny spam subject line, usually with snarky commentary. If that sounds amusing, please check it out!

Oh, yeah, one more thing: I’ve added a bit to this morning’s Classic Flash round-up.

Disney Buys Marvel: What The–?!

Marvel What The--?! #3 (1988)So, the Internet is abuzz with Disney’s purchase of Marvel Comics.

There seems to be a lot of freaking out along the lines of “OMG Disney will turn Marvel into kid stuff!” There’s also a lot of people having fun with mash-ups, as seen on #disneymarvel.

A little perspective, though:

Conglomerate

DC Comics has been owned by Warner Bros. (or rather its parent company, currently Time Warner) since the 1970s. From what I’ve heard, DC is more limited by merchandising at this point than by its corporate parent. Don’t change Superman into someone you can’t put on a kids’ beach towel.

Admittedly, Warner Bros. is less of a top-down hierarchy. When describing the fight to find Babylon 5 a new home when PTEN collapsed, JMS described Warner Bros. as “a series of competing and structurally independent fiefdoms.” (WB wouldn’t take Babylon 5 because it was a PTEN show.

Of course, this brings to mind images of Bugs Bunny-as-Superman vs. Mickey Mouse-as-Wolverine. Say, didn’t Duck Dodgers actually get a Green Lantern ring in one comic?

Disney isn’t just Disney. It’s also ESPN, ABC, Miramax, and Touchstone. It’s not just Mickey Mouse and Hannah Montana, it’s also Kill Bill, No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood. And while Disney has been known for strict corporate control, they managed not to break Pixar.

Movies

It may be that my lack of concern for Marvel’s comic books has to do with the fact that I’m not much of a Marvel reader. But I have seen a lot of their movies, and I do see a major potential pitfall there.

The big advantage Marvel has had over DC in terms of movie development is that until recently, they could shop around to different studios. So they could have X-Men in development at Fox, Spider-Man at Sony, and Hulk at Universal, while DC was stuck with Warner Bros. — a company that exudes caution in every move and seemed to want to make only one movie at a time.

Now Marvel’s tied to a single studio, just like DC, except for projects already in development like the current Spider-Man series and the X-Men spinoffs.

BOOM!

My main concern on reading the news was actually what might happen with BOOM! Studios’ Pixar and Muppet comics. Why would Disney want to keep hiring out to a third party when they own a comics company? BOOM! made a big splash last year with their Jim Henson and Disney deals, particularly Farscape, The Muppet Show and The Incredibles…and then Henson took the rest of their properties to Archaia, and now Disney’s buying Marvel.

The short term answer, according to this list at CBR, is that “Existing licensing and distribution deals should remain where they are.” So BOOM! gets to keep producing The Incredibles, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, and so forth. When that contract is up, who knows? Maybe it’ll come down to whether Disney likes what they’ve been doing. Or maybe it’ll come down to whether someone in management wants to save a few bucks by staying inside the company.

Presumably the same would be true of the characters at Universal Studios theme parks: they’d stay in place until the contract runs out.

Update: Further analysis and discussion at Comics Worth Reading, The Beat, Robot 6, Comics Should Be Good, and The Weekly Crisis. And it looks like Bleeding Cool is melting down (bleeding out?) under the strain of the discussion.

Reviewing the Unwritten, the Unthinkable, the Unknown

I’d been planning to pick up Mark Waid’s The Unknown since learning about it back in February. The Unwritten sort of snuck up on me, but I read a preview in an issue of either House of Mystery or Madame Xanadu, and decided to check it out. The 99-cent first issue cemented the deal. Then there’s Unthinkable, which isn’t usually my type of story, but I was amused by the fact that all three first issues were coming out on the same day…and then I read quite a bit about it when the TSA found the script for an issue and detained the writer at an airport. So I grabbed that one as well.

Now all three series are on their second issues, and I’ve just caught up on all three of them.

The Unknown

4-issue mini by Mark Waid and Minck Oosterveer from BOOM! Studios. Cat Allingham is a world-class genius problem-solver who makes her living as a consultant to unsolved cases of all types, and has turned her attention to the greatest unsolved problem of all: what happens after death? Her assistant is a former bouncer who happens to be an expert at reading people, and has a mysterious background of his own.

It’s a combination mystery and action adventure, with some bizarre twists along the way — including one at the end of issue #2 that makes you rethink just what’s going on in the previous 40-odd pages. While the Macguffin itself strains my suspension of disbelief, the story around it has been interesting, especially the interplay between the two leads.

Verdict: Definitely on board!

Unthinkable

Mark Sable with Julian Totino Tedesco

5-issue mini, international intrigue and military action. After 9/11, a Tom-Clancy-like action writer gets hired by a think-tank to come up with doomsday scenarios — the unthinkable — before the bad guys do. Nearly a decade later, someone has started putting his ideas into practice.

The first issue is mostly setup, introducing the players and leading up to the attacks. The second issue picks up with the writer trying to get someone to listen to him and anticipate the next steps, which of course goes horribly wrong. (We’re at issue #2 or 5, after all.)

After the first issue, I was solidly onboard for #2. But after #2, I’m not sure I’m interested in continuing. It’s oddly disjointed, with a lot of critical story bits told in narration instead of being shown on the page. And characters shifting sides and motivation apparently with no cause. I’m not sure I’ll keep going with this one, but then as I said, it’s not a genre I’m usually drawn to.

Verdict: Not sure. If you like military action/adventure, you might like it better than I do.

The Unwritten

Ongoing by Mike Carey and Peter Gross, Vertigo.

The main character, Tom Taylor, was the inspiration for his vanished father’s best-selling not-quite-Harry-Potter fantasy series, and is about as self-absorbed as you might expect from the focus of a media empire. At least, that’s what he and everyone else believes until a fan’s question suggests that he’s a fraud. Then there are those who believe he’s the actual Tommy Taylor from the books, somehow brought to life in the real world…and they might not be that far off.

The first story arc is about Tom trying to learn the truth about his origins, and fighting for control of his public perception (con man or messiah?). And then there are the people who want him dead…

The books are filled with literary references (Tom’s father drilled literary geography into his head when he was a child, so he can’t help but remember details when he walks past, say, the building that was the inspiration for the Ministry of Truth in 1984), and the major theme is the intersection of fantasy and reality in the form of stories.

And let’s just say I’ve always been a sucker for stories about the nature of stories. Yes, even before I read Sandman.

Don’t forget to read the text pages. There are fragments of notes, news articles, forum discussions, chat logs, etc. and they all figure in. The first time I read issue #1, I missed the page in the back, and was glad I noticed it this time through.

Verdict: Heck, yeah! I don’t know how long they can keep this up, but I’m definitely along for the ride!

Kindle DX: A Digital Comics Platform?

Kindle DXAmazon has announced the Kindle DX, a new version of their e-book reader with a 9.7-inch screen. Unless I’ve got my numbers wrong, that makes it larger than the standard manga page, though not quite as big as the standard American comic book page. And it’s only 1/3 of an inch thick, comparable to a typical trade paperback.

This could be the first e-reader device suitable for simply taking comics formatted for the printed page and transferring them to a tablet. No need to break it down and show one panel at a time like most iPhone or Android comics. No need to zoom and pan. Just transfer the whole page.

Sure, it’s only black and white, but there are plenty of comics produced in B&W, or reformatted for printing in cheap collections like Marvel Essentials or DC’s Showcase Presents series.

Imagine 30 years of Justice League of America or Spider-Man in the space of the latest trade.

The only drawback is the steep price tag: at $489, I’m not picking one up anytime soon.

(Cross-posted at K-Squared Ramblings.)